“It sounded interesting,” Graham said.
And so, by the time he was an upperclassman in high school, Graham had decided he wanted to be a lawyer, too.
After graduating from the University of Missouri Law School in 1962, Graham began working with a general-practice firm in Fredericktown. As he took on more and more litigation, however, the boundaries of his practice spread until he was no longer a small-town attorney.
Graham stayed with the firm, Schnapp, Graham & Reid, for around 30 years. But as time passed, his practice became regional and oriented more toward St. Louis than Fredericktown.
In the mid-1990s, he relocated to St. Louis and founded the Graham Law Firm. That move also signaled a shift in his practice, which focused primarily on plaintiffs’ work.
Now as president of Gray, Ritter & Graham, he maintains a full practice in wrongful death and catastrophic injury, product liability, commercial litigation and class action, among other areas. Being an attorney is a terrific honor, he said, considering that people in need seek out attorneys and ask for their help.
“I believe strongly in our profession,” he said.
Graham continues to maintain relationships and stay in touch with clients he represented years ago, saying “I tend to become very close to my clients.” He regards with fondness his term as president of The Missouri Bar from 1988 to 1989; he also served on its board of governors from 1980 to 1990.
As state bar president, Graham said he worked hard with other bar members to obtain adequate funding for the public-defender system. At the time, he said, his team was successful.
Today, however, he finds himself taking up that fight once more. He is assisting with several efforts aimed at ensuring volunteers from the civil bar are available for cases to help alleviate some of the defender system’s burden.
“The public-defender system is simply overworked, and as good of a job as they do, they need help,” Graham said.
While many attorneys at similar points in their careers might be looking towards retirement, Graham said he won’t be slowing down any time soon. He says he cannot imagine not practicing law.
“I enjoy what I do so much,” he said.